"Presently, a preliminary design of Project 23560 Leader is under consideration at the Russian Ministry of Defense," Igor Ponomarev, vice president of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), told RIA Novosti earlier this week. After the project is given the green light, "we will develop a technical design of the ship and prepare the documents to build the ship in the timeframe set by the ministry."
The ocean-going Leader-class destroyer has been in development by the Severnoye Design Bureau, the country's leading company designing surface ships, since 2010. The 200-meter long and 20-meter wide vessel will displace up to 17,500 tons. It will travel at a maximum speed of 32 knots.
The multipurpose warship will have anti-aircraft, anti-ballistic missile, anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities. It is meant to replace the Sovremennyy-class destroyers, the main anti-surface warships of the Russian Navy, as well as the Slava-class cruisers and the Udaloy I class anti-submarine destroyers.
"Assuming that Russia can build the Leader-class given its current economic situation, the massive new warships would outgun the largest surface combatants in the US Navy's fleet – carrying roughly double an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer's missile tubes," defense analyst Dave Majumdar wrote for the National Interest.
The next-generation warship could also receive the sea-based version of Russia's most advanced air defense system, known as the S-500 Prometey or 55R6M Triumfator-M. It will aslo have a landing pad for two Kamov Ka-27 or Kamov Ka-32 helicopters.
The ship will most likely be nuclear powered. It will be capable of spending up to 90 days offshore without additional refueling or support.